Thursday, August 13, 2015

The King's Challenge #16

TKC 16

The rain intensifies. The switchback path is already a river of mud. Slipping frequently, we run as fast as the wet slope allows.

With the end in sight, Damin veers off, seemingly entering the cliff itself. As he still has my hand, I am dragged with him.

“They will be waiting up there. If not for us, certainly for anyone from the lower city. We have a secret entrance we use to fool them.”

Who is this Damin? I ask myself, but time is of the essence. Those questions can wait. I ask instead, “They keep folk down there even knowing many will drown? That is barbaric.”

“The reality of Normur,” Damin murmurs, and finds his hidden door. “Come.”

Water seeps in rivulets into the tunnel. Given Damin’s haste, I assume it will soon be impassable. An age later, he heaves his shoulder against a trapdoor. Rainwater pours in through the seams. Grunting, he gets it open. A deluge soaks me.

Soon we are running the cobbled streets of Normur. I have recognised the tower of the inn I noticed when I first arrived and we head towards it, threading through alleys to keep it in sight. It has now rained for almost an hour. The wet season has arrived.

Bedraggled and cold, we finally knock on the backdoor of the inn. Dawn approaches; someone should be awake. As the stars will have it, Attis opens to us. His eyes round and then he gestures, rolling his eyes in every direction. With a finger to his lips, he leads us up a flight of stairs and into an empty suite.

“Can you pay?” he whispers. “I can say you came in the night and I signed you in.”

Nodding, I hand him a silver. “How long with that?”

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